Posted 03/13/2012 - 08:28:03am by Stephen Anfield
My Twitter ‘hatch date’ (when I joined Twitter) was Sept. 20, 2009. Back then, it was a fairly new social networking platform, and I frequently found myself asking, “What’s the point?” As I approach my third anniversary, I’ve learned quite a bit from this new medium of online communication.
If you’re a boomer who has decided to brave the vast Twitterverse, here’s my list of the top five things I wish I knew when I started.
1. The Twitter stream is not meant to be read in its entirety.
If you’ve signed up for Twitter and started following some of your favorite public figures, then you’ll see that people have a lot to say. When I first started, I thought to myself, “How, on earth, can I read ALL of these tweets?” Reading each and every tweet in your Twitter stream will feel like you’re reading War and Peace. It’s okay (and expected) to not read every tweet.
2. Be cautious of all links.
This bit of advice holds true across all social networking platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn). If your intuition is telling you something seems fishy, then go with it. I, personally, do not click on links unless I know the organization or the individual well enough to know that it’s probably safe. Even when someone I know sends me a link, I message them back and ask, “Did you intend to send me this link?” It’s okay to ask what it is before you click on it.
3. The first few people that follow you will most likely be beautiful ‘women.’ BLOCK THEM.
This may sound like harsh advice, but you’ll notice that you’ll be ‘followed’ by random women that you don’t even know. They’re what we call ‘bots,’ and they serve no real purpose other than to annoy you. Most aren’t real, and it’s best to block them whenever they begin following you. It’ll save you some hassle in the long run.
4. No one likes to talk to an egg. Add a profile pic and write a bio.
You’ll notice when you join Twitter that the default profile pic is an egg. Social networking sites are about being social, right? People want to know they are speaking to an individual… not an egg. Create a short bio making sure to include interests and career aspirations, so that like-minded individuals can follow you and connect.
5. Growing your list of followers takes time.
Twitter is a great teacher in delaying gratification. Just because you follow someone, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll follow you back (and vice versa). Don’t take it personally. After 891 days of tweeting from my personal account, I now have 2,599 followers. The Encore Careers Twitter account has been around for 809 days with 1,747 amazing followers. This just goes to show that you, too, can build a following of like-minded people if you just give it some time.
If you missed the previous blog posts in my ‘Social Media 101 for Boomers’ series, then be sure to check them out by visiting the links below. If you find the information informative, please share with your friends and colleagues!
As always, if you’ve got questions, feel free to comment below or shoot an email to (info)(@)(civicventures)(.)(org) with the subject line ‘SOCIAL MEDIA 101.’
Social Media 101 for Boomers
- Social Media 101 for Boomers: An introduction to the most widely used social networking sites for boomers – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. This is a great place to start to understand the basics.
- Don’t be Sorry in the Morning (Or How To Build Meaningful Relationships Online): Have you been getting Facebook friend requests and LinkedIn connection requests and not sure who to add? Be sure to read this blog post.
- Tweeting for Boomer Beginners: A Q&A about how to find people to 'follow' and how to get 'followed.'
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